The Joys of Modern Travel – Part 9

The title is a lie, an out and out dirty big fat lie I tell ye!! There were no joys about the modern travel this morning, not a single one.
Anyone who has read the previous TJOMT posts will know that in an effort to return to some kind of normality on the work front I have been attempting to travel on the earlier train. For the most part it’s not been too bad, however the stairs are slightly problematic meaning I have to do a kind of awkward hop limp on the flat surfaces to make the 3 minute window between train changes.
“Use the lift,” barked the station conductor one morning I was a little slow and felt I needed to explain myself. “I would but it’s full of your staff,” I barked back, at which point both of our heads did a cinematic slow turn to face the lift, which as I had stated was full to bursting with men in blue uniforms and orange jackets. I made a little “Hmphf,” noise and waltzed off, making sure as best I could that my indignation did not trip me up on the way.
This morning as my train pulled into the change station, I stood up to disembark. While standing at the doors waiting for them to open I could see the crowd surging forward, each one determined to be first to stake their claim on the steps and therefore secure the best seat. In light of the fact I can no longer do stairs, I am still at the stage of having to hold onto the hand rail and step forward on the bad leg. Such a simple task proved rather difficult this morning. It was like pushing my leg through a wall of marshmallow as bodies surged forward. Eventually in a rather loud voice laced with frustration I said “Could you all at least wait until I get off!” at which point a little corridor opened in the crowd and I was able to descend and pass through.
On my approach to the gate I realised something was not quite right as the guard was turning people around and making them head back towards the train, when in fact they should have been commencing the 3 minute sprint to the other platform.
Sure enough when I reached him the guard asked me where I was headed and then informed me I needed to get back onto the train as due to an earlier failure it was no longer an express and would be servicing all stops.
FFS!! I mean seriously FFS!!
So I about turned, retraced my steps and sheepishly stepped back onto the train, embarrassed at having to face the people I had not 2 minutes previously unleashed my frustration upon.
There were no seats, the one previously warmed by my ample backside now having been filled by someone else’s. The worst thing about having moved to a stage in leg injury recovery that no longer requires a crutch is that no one knows how badly you need to sit down.
I had to stand for the remainder of my journey.
It would appear that today was my day for receiving a resounding slap from karma.

The Joys of Modern Travel Part 8…Conversations on trains!

I think I have one of these faces. I like to smile, in fact I will smile at anyone whether they are receptive to it or not. It would appear that the act of smiling very often leads into the art of the awkward return smile and sometimes rebound conversation.

On an unmanned TRAIN platform in the middle of the universe:

Me: Smiles.

Stranger: Lovely morning isn’t it.

Me: It sure is, but it’s very warm.

Stranger: You waiting for something?

Me: Yes, the train.

Stranger: It’s very warm isn’t it.

Me: Aye.

Train pulls into the station.

Stranger: Is that the train then.

Me: Yes, you getting on?

Stranger: No I think I’ll wait for the train.

Me: Ummm ok then, have a nice day!

Forgive me for being a little confused by this. There is only one line, with all trains going to the same place. I can only imagine he was waiting for a special train. I might check it out on Monday, it could lead me on a very exciting adventure.

At a table, on a moving train in the middle of the same universe.

Me: Smiles

Stranger: That’s one hell of a phone you have there girl.

Me: Smiling and laughing. That’s not a phone, it’s a tablet.

Stranger: Ach no, I wouldn’t want to be swallowing that thing.

We  both laugh at his amazing quip.

Stranger: So what are you doing?

Me: I’m writing.

Stranger: Writing what?

Me: A blog.

Stranger: A wha?

Me: A blog.

Stranger: What’s a blog then?

Me: Hmmm it’s kinda like an online diary.

Stranger: Oh. There must be some good stuff in there then.(In a nudge nudge, wink wink way)

Me: Not really, it’s pretty boring actually.

Stranger: Well it looks exciting. I might have to get me a big old phone like that and one of those there blog things.

Me: What would you call it?

Stranger: You said it was a tablet.

Me: No I meant your blog.

Stranger: It needs a name?

Me: Yes it has to have a title.

Stranger: (Thinks for a minute rapping fingers on the table) Sure I’ll name it Fido after me dog.

Me: (Laughing) Aye that’s dead on. I’ll keep an eye out for it, see ye later.

I think I  might stop smiling.

Entertaining Journeys!

What a load of excrement!

The last couple of days travel has been interesting to say the least.

Friday night my Sis and I headed into the big smoke for a dander around and a cup of coffee. When it came to heading home time we walked up for the train, found ourselves a table and made ourselves comfortable.

There was a gentleman sitting in the table across the aisle from us, but neither of us really paid him any attention. That is until he picked up his phone and decided to make a call. Trains vary between different places, but the space inside a carriage would be relatively uniform across  the board. My point, well it’s far to easy to hear a conversation, I personally hate making calls on a train. It’s easier still when the caller is making no attempt to be private.

So there we were minding our own business, chatting away to each other when this guy says to the person he was calling, and not particularly quietly either, “How’s your shite”. My sis and I just looked at each other in a quizzical, did we just hear right kind of way. We had, so of course we started to laugh. Unabashed he carried on, a full conversation about bowel movements and how it was good when they returned to their normal colour and how you had to check the consistency and that was only the start. By this time my sister and I had both lost it, you know how it is, the harder you try not to laugh, the more you do. He had to know we were laughing at him, infact by this time he was laughing too, we’re just not sure if it was at us laughing at him or with the person on the phone.

By this point I had actually turned around in my seat to face the window in an attempt to calm myself down and stop laughing but nothing was working, my sides were starting to hurt and tears were streaming down my sisters face.

Thankfully my phone rang and it was Shady. I was never so glad to get a call in my whole life. I haven’t even had a chance to tell him about this yet, but because I was talking to him I was able to tune out the other guy and eventually calm down.

He wasn’t even embarrassed. I said to my Sister afterwards that I bet there wasn’t even anyone on the phone.

Today I get on the train to go home, (it must be something about that line), and there is a guy merrily chatting away. I figured he was with his kid, this being fathers day and all. I could hear him saying of course I’ll teach you to fly and to be fair I was a little bemused by this until I realised he was on his own and was actually talking to a little model Concord airplane that he kept repeatedly tapping against his forehead.

I think I’ll need a little bit of time to recover before I take that train line again!!

Candy Crush – Sweet Search Terms!

Candy Crush

I just love checking out the Search Engine Terms on my Stats Page. Some of them are hilarious, but none more so that the Candy Crush ones, so my sweet addicted pals, here is my take on your searches:

  • Candy Crush – Do you really have to wait 24 hours between quests? : No you don’t! You initially get 5 lives, you lose one every time you fail a level. You gain a new life every 30 minutes (on my app anyways), however if you are connected to Facebook you can hound your friends until they eventually send you one just to shut you up.
  • Candy Crush for Xbox? – Not out yet as far as I know. Not even sure if it ever will be. Please don’t release it on another platform or I’ll be a total lost cause!
  • Candy Crush 7 Windows Firewall Setting? – Say wha?! is there something I am missing here, can it be played somewhere else on a PC bar Facebook?
  • Candy Crush Mistakes – The biggest mistake of all is ever starting to play the damn game!
  • Candy Crushing Equipment – Usually your teeth are the best weapon, however your dentist is going to be none to happy! With regards to the game, I have noticed additional tools are not available on the Apps, however when the game is played via the PC you can get various Candy Crushing aids to help you on your quest, one, funnily enough being a set of teeth!
  • Candy Crush Depression – I’m suffering it at the minute for two reasons. The first is I am again stuck, level 323 this time, it’s a total nightmare. It makes me want to jump up and down, curse, scream and bounce my shiny Google Nexus against a wall. The second reason is, when I reach the end of this pathway there is a Spanner. I can go no further. No more Candy Crush. FFS. Well not until they build the next levels anyway.
  • I think Candy Crush may be taking over my life – If you’re worried enough to Google it then you are probably correct. But admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery. Welcome to the fold!
  • Tickets to Candy Crush – Ask your friends or buy them. Remember though buying things can be VERY costly. It might not seem like much at the time but it all adds up. I personally pester people on Bakebook.
  •  Addicted to candy crush saga, wanna learn how to make a candy crush cake – So am I! I don’t wanna learn how to make a cake though, sorry, but I’ll certainly help you eat that bad boy!
  • Goodbye Candy Crush. Before it’s to late. Uninstalled – This one has to be the winner! It’s so dramatic. Wonder how long they lasted.

Keep them coming, I love having a giggle at the things people search for which ultimately leads them to my Blog!

Picture Credit – Ian Hughes (click the picture for his link)

Planes, Trains and Bloomin Computers!!

In order to get to work I’ve decided I am going to make myself a pair of wings or a little plane and learn to fly! It should be easy enough if I can fashion the right equipment because I am pretty good at getting myself in a flap!
No guard at the station this morning again, and one monthly ticket required so I once again had to alight at a manned station to purchase same. Due to the price rise I knew it was going to be a little more expensive than last month, but I have to say I still buckled slightly at the knees when she said £150. To be fair even she looked sheepish, so much so that I felt the need to console her, “It’s all right, I checked this morning before I came out, so I knew how bad it would be” was what I said. “At least Dick Turpin wore a mask” was what I thought.
I went and bought myself a coffee and proceeded to play Candy Crush for the 30 minutes while I waited for the next train to arrive.
Where do computers come in I hear you ask. Well if you cannot already tell, I am a little on edge this morning. That would be due to lack of sleep, which in turn has to do with my computer.
Computers are a marvellous invention, of that there is no doubt. When they work they are nothing short of fantastic. When they don’t they make you want to bang your head repeatedly off a wall.
Yesterday I made the fantastically ill informed decision to format mine. For months it’s been skipping music and generally getting slower. After about an hour of use the mouse starts to act like it’s swallowed a 2 week supply of Diazepam all in one go. It’s there, but in body only. Apparently my hard drives are healthy and so is my ram but still it persists to get on like a goat!
At 1pm, after everything was backed up I proceeded to Alt and F10 while booting up the PC. Nothing. Three more attempts, still nothing. Ok plan B says the very knowledgeable Paul, your boot sector is obviously corrupted, F12 and use your back up discs.  Righty ho, F12, first disc in and away we go. This is not as bad as I thought, I’m thinking to myself and 45 minutes later it says it’s been successful. Yipee, get everything reinstalled and lets blog. Then it starts to update, update some more and sure enough there’s another couple of updates on the side for good measure.
Fast forward 1 hour and 30 minutes, time to reinstall my Anti Virus. I’d been on the net, checked it was networked etc and all was fine. After copious amounts of pressing next and agreeing to various terms and conditions Internet Security was finally installed, just the last little bit, fill out the online registration and we’re good to go.
NO INTERNET, LOCAL ACCESS ONLY!! WTF!! Eh, what’s going on here, I had internet 5 minutes ago. I then tried to open up the security program to tweak some settings in case it was the firewall that was being a funny bugger, but like my mouse it was there in body only. Each click brought me back to the registration screen, only I couldn’t register cos yep, you guessed it, I have no fecking internet. I then tried to uninstall the program and the whole thing locked up.
In a panic I rang Paul, giving off bucket loads and he says you’d be better to start again. I swore an awful lot, like an awful, awful lot but deferred to his superior knowledge and trotted off to reinstall. That was at approximately 5.15pm.
At 7.30pm it was busy installing update 17 of 120. At 10.30pm we had progressed to 50 of 120. Eventually at 12.30am it was done.
Retry internet security. Same thing. No Internet, local access only. I didn’t get angry, I didn’t get mildly annoyed. I didn’t even swear. I simply went to bed because I was thoroughly pissed off.
I’m going to tackle it again when I get home and if it doesn’t play ball I am going to kick it up and down the lane, well as much as my good leg will allow anyway.

The Joys Of Modern Travel!

Ok prepare for a rant! It’s been one of those days….oh yeah and it’s only midday!
So NIR or Northern Ireland Railways for those who have not got a clue what I am referring to. I have always been a fan, even on the nights when trains broke down and I was left stranded at various train stations for various amounts of time. Usually there was good craic and banter among the stranded and time passed. I used to never let it annoy me, other people usually ranted and raved and I just said nothing and felt sorry for the conductor who was getting a finger wagged in his face, muttering these things happen.
So let’s be clear, I have no issues with the conductor’s. They are a great bunch of lads and lasses doing a job I would not do for all the money in the world!
So I know at this point you are rolling your eyes and urging me on. Settle petal, I’m getting there……..oh look a butterfly……oops hang on, back now.
Some stations on the NIR lines get forgotten about. They tend to focus on the better money making routes and not the ones they consider give them a little less revenue. Yes! I do know that makes good business sense, however they are not encouraging anyone from the sticks to travel if they are getting a second class service.  To be fair things have greatly improved since the introduction of the new trains….my are they fabulous, always warm, comfortable seating, little tables and free Wifi, granted coverage is a little sketchy in places but they get 10 out of 10 for even trying, some of those places a man with a satellite dish on his head couldn’t get a reading.
So we’ve now established that my rant is not about the trains either.
It’s funny, I’ve not reached my point yet and I am running out of steam already, it is true what they say, it’s good to talk!
Point of Annoyance Number 1
I’ve recently been off work after knee surgery, walking is a bit of a trauma but it’s getting better, it’s all about rebuilding the muscle. On the day I reported fit I decided to check the train timetables to see what was going to work best for my phased return. I was extremely dismayed to see that I no longer had any direct trains to work, someone in their wisdom had decided that once you reach a certain point the train should turn into an express (to benefit the more important people from the more important stations), meaning anyone in between has to get off and change. I have 5 minutes to change between platforms, which involves stairs and subways, neither of which I can manage to well at the moment. The homeward journey is the same, I can no longer travel to work without changing trains on any of the times required to get me to and from work! Not happy, I pay the same as everyone else but feel I am getting a lesser service.
Point of Annoyance Number 2
Pricing – Anyone who travels by car will probably argue that when all costs are added together the train is cheaper. I would have agreed and would also have said it was less hassle, that is until I had to change, get off, wait, get on…..chooo chooo! So because I have been easing myself back into work gradually, I was not travelling a full week and therefore paying daily for my ticket. £10 a day. Anyone who travels after 9.30am in the morning can avail of a 3rd off a day return. Not anyone wanting to go to work though, there are no benefits for consistent travellers, full fare thanks very much! I am however grateful to the girls in work who raided through their junk mail and found me 50% off tickets issued by Translink in a bid to encourage people to try the train. This did help for a few days. I could have availed of an Mlink Ticket – 3 days travel for £25 saving me a fiver, however you can only have Mlink if you have an Iphone, Blackberry or Android. I am victimised for having a Windows Phone. Hey I am a gamer I like my Xbox App!! So no ticket for me on ye olde Mlink!  Translink say, and I quote “We would encourage all of our customers to consider upgrading to an iPhone, Blackberry or Android Smartphone in order to continue using the mLink app in the future.” Eh here mate, that’s a genius idea only I can’t fecking afford it cos I am paying you £10 a day to feckin travel.
So today as it is the start of a new month I am armed with my card to buy my monthly ticket. I get to the station, no one there, position closed, please buy your ticket on the train. So I ask the guard can you take a card, no sorry, but I need to get a monthly. So at this point my options are, get off at a manned station, buy a ticket and then get back on the train or buy a day return. I had to buy the day return for £10 as I can’t afford to be late for work. Really not happy, but I am still in a dilemma because what do I do if there is no one at the station tomorrow.
I need to win the lottery tonight, I don’t care if the big hand pokes me in the eye as long as he says “It’s You!”